The starting point in genuine devotion to the horse is the dismantling of credentials. There arises a time when there are no longer experts. Everything needs to be questioned.
Is this or that best for the horse? When you settle on this, study that further. When you settle on that, study this further. Learn to see not this nor that, but the mind which looks at the questions.
What is difficult to grasp here is that the first expert to dismantle their credentials is the most difficult to work with and that is you. The horse does not need experts and credentials. It needs servants.
When an issue appears and reveals a great passion for you, always be suspicious because the neurotic mind always craves warfare. There must always be an enemy which must be attacked. In keeping the conflicts alive, our neurotic side can feed and thrive. Credentials keep the separations going.
This whole issue of credentials and experts is like fly paper. We all get caught to some degree, but the point is to get unstuck and free of the glue is to question everything without end.
We all have preconceptions about what good dressage is. To learn what it really is good dressage, you must give up all your preconceptions because your good dressage gets in the way of finding good dressage.
With lightness and kindness as your guide, you journey into relative and absolute good for the horse. Seeking to find the best way forward is always about the view. In most cases, the answer is not picking one over the other but seeing the growth from relative to absolute occurs.
As I write this, I think of how these ideas can be twisted and can think of no way to absolutely stop the misdirected and neurotic mind from doing so. Yet, the wisdom here is revealed when devotion to the horses is true and without neurotic twists. We all are neurotic and we all can see clearly. The problem is in the mind and how we try to work with it.
The mind does not see itself but only its own reflection. A neurotic mind grasps at credentials because grounding in expertise, its own or others, allows it to see its reflections as the whole. This is the foundation of equestrian culture as it exists today. It is founded in the neurotic military mind which does not know the cradle of loving kindness.
Of course, there are other twists and distortions in dressage some arise from culture and some from our or our teacher’s neurotic mind, but devotion to the horse allows us to pass through. Here is why self-knowledge is so important to find our way beyond our own neurotic self.
Kindness and forgiveness are what can enable one to heal the battle that the neurotic self must maintain. Finding our own sanity is the most difficult part of dressage. Harmony with the horse is first found in some degree of finding a harmony within yourself.
The horse is our friend and presents a true mirror in which to see our own minds. Dressage as a path to sanity is a process of working with and through many horses and many riders. Each being we work with reflects back who and what we are.
Not all of us can follow this path, but we all have a path that we are on and so life itself is our mirror. Dressage is not separate from life but a beautiful and simple way to see who and what we are. What the horse gives us is precious and credentials only block the best of the simple and precious gift the horse gives.